Naspers sells Polish Allegro unit to PE firms for $3.25bn
December 2016 | DEALFRONT | PRIVATE EQUITY & VENTURE CAPITAL
Financier Worldwide Magazine
Global internet and entertainment group Naspers Limited announced its intention to sell its 100 percent stake in Allegro Group, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, for $3.253bn.
The sale – which includes both Allegro.pl and Ceneo.pl (the most popular online comparison shopping business in Poland) – is to private equity (PE) firms Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa Partners.
Founded in 1915, Naspers is the largest media company in Africa and one of the leading technology investors in the world. Furthermore, with operations in more than 130 countries and in markets with long-term growth potential, the media giant runs some of the world’s leading platforms in internet, video entertainment and media, building companies that it says “empowers people and enriches communities”.
“We recognise the strong organic growth opportunities available in the Polish e-commerce and retail sectors,” said Pawel Padusinski, a partner at Mid Europa. “Our investment in Allegro is consistent with our strategy of supporting leading market players with impressive track records in Central and Eastern Europe. We are enthusiastic about working closely with the management team and our partners from Cinven and Permira in supporting Allegro’s further growth.”
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Poznan, Allegro is the most popular online shopping destination in Poland, with more than 20 million registered users. Moreover, Allegro employs 1275 people across five offices in Poznań, Warszawa, Toruń, Wrocław and Kraków and provides an online marketplace for companies and private sellers to sell their products to consumers resulting in total sales of more than 850,000 items a day.
“Allegro is a business that we invested in during 2008, and since then we have built it into a respected and successful commerce brand in Poland,” said Bob van Dijk, CEO of Naspers. “Its ability to grow while adapting to a changing market environment has ensured its success and it’s a business that continues to perform. We are extremely proud of Allegro’s team and success, and we are delighted that Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa will lead its next chapter. Our decision to sell Allegro is consistent with our strategy to find and realise value for our shareholders.”
Naspers originally acquired Poland-based Allegro for $1.5bn (as part of the deal to acquire the online auction company Tradus, which operated in Central and Eastern Europe) in an attempt to establish other fast-growing businesses in Poland, such as the e-commerce site OLX and the payment platform PayU.
“Allegro is a great business,” said David Barker, a partner at Cinven. “It is a clear market leader and extremely well positioned to benefit from structural e-commerce drivers with a strong technology platform and strong reputation with its users. We are very excited to be working with management to drive the business growth and we are looking forward to be working alongside Permira and Mid Europa.”
The financial adviser to Naspers during the sale was Morgan Stanley, the legal adviser was Allen & Overy and accounting and tax advice was provided by Deloitte. In addition, the Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa consortium was advised by Goldman Sachs International, the lead financial adviser, Macquarie Capital as financial adviser, Clifford Chance as legal adviser, McKinsey as commercial adviser and EY as accounting and tax adviser.
The sale of Allegro is subject to antitrust clearance and is expected to close before the end of fiscal 2017, according to Naspers.
Confident that the PE consortium has found a “real gem” in Allegro, Richard Sanders, a partner at Permira, commented: “Allegro is the pre-eminent consumer and merchant internet brand in Poland and we look forward to backing the management team to develop it further.”
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